RESIDENTS have formed an action group to fight proposals to build more than 250 homes in their small village.

Around 20 people attended the first meeting of the Keep Browney Small (KBS) campaign, established to oppose Banks Property’s plans to build 271 homes on 27 acres of farmland in Browney, west of Durham City.

They say the development would be too big for Browney, which currently has just 78 homes, and overload the area’s roads network.

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Nearly 200 people have signed a petition against the scheme, including 47 from Browney.

Fiona Birnie, a Browney Lane resident of 12 years, said: “We feel it’s disproportionate to the size of the village. Many of us have moved here because it’s a small, quiet, rural village.

“We feel 271 homes would bring an unreasonable amount of traffic onto Browney Lane. We feel it’s not safe.

“I understand places expand and people need homes but there’s no shortage in this area.”

Ms Birnie also questioned Banks’ public consultation, saying only 14 people from Browney had responded – with five in favour, five against and four undecided.

She added that, following a presentation by the action group, Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council had resolved to object to the scheme.

In response, Michael Shuttleworth, managing director of Banks Property, said the site was identified for housing in the emerging County Durham Plan.

He added, the firm would put in place measures to improve traffic flow and tackle existing congestion problems and it was very pleased with the ‘positive response’ it had received from a large number of local people and businesses, including at least six telephone calls from people interested in buying a house on the proposed new estate.

The action group plans to speak to local businesses about the proposals and will hold its next meeting in Browney Social Club on Monday, January 7, at 7.30pm.

Banks has submitted its plans to Durham County Council. Formal consultation ended on Wednesday (December 12) but comments can still be made online at

The outline application is expected to go before a council planning committee early in the new year.